Camping Essentials – What Not to Forget

The Wanderer adores camping and no matter which country I’m in as long as I’m outside then I’m happy as a pig in muck, sometimes quite literally. However, as with all adventures, preparation is the key and if you’re planning on getting back to nature this year then I’ve set out the essential list below that you should certainly consider before you set off.


Waterproof jacket and trousers

Weather can change in an instant, especially in the UK and France, so carrying a fold-up pair of waterproof trousers and coat can ensure that you keep warm and dry in the event of an unexpected downpour. These days ‘cags-in-bags’ can fold up to an extremely small size and although they may not look the most fashionable you’re sure to appreciate their qualities once the heavens open.

Fold-up water container

Chores are always necessary at camp and no matter whether you’re on an organised youth camp or an individual hiking trip, fetching and carrying water is just something that you have to do. These days there are plenty of soft plastic containers that will fit neatly into a backpack and can hold gallons of water at a time – perfect for washing, cooking and making a cuppa no matter how far you are from the tap.


Lumpy, bumpy ground can make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep and back pain is the last thing that you want if you’re undertaking a day hike the morning after. Polly-rolls are lightweight and easy to carry and can usually fit neatly underneath most backpacks using the straps provided. They’re also great for just lounging around in the day time if you want to avoid damp or wet grass.  You can compare diferent types of sleeping bags and roll up sheets at specialist outdoor equipment suppliers such as Cotswold Outdoors


Very easy to forget for the novice camper however, come the night, a torch may well prove to be one of the most vital pieces of kit that you possess. From midnight toilet treks to investigating nocturnal noises, the humble torch, battery or energy generated, is your friend, guide and easily secreted stowaway and vital for any camping expedition.

Cooking utensils

Even if you’re going on an organised youth or summer adventure camp, carrying your own knives, forks, plates and cups is always a good idea, especially from a health perspective. It’s often difficult to thoroughly clean cooking items whilst camping so using your own may well prove to be a more hygienic method of staying safe from unwanted illnesses.

Spare pegs and mallets

Woe betides the camper who fails to secure their tent correctly due to a lack of equipment. You’ll never regret taking extra pegs and a sturdy mallet because nine times out of ten the pegs that you do have are going to get bent due to hard ground. Even if you don’t use them yourself, you can guarantee that someone on site will be after a mallet and, as we all know, sharing is what camping’s all about!

Plastic bags

You know that useless sack of plastic carriers that you’ve got taking up kitchen cupboard space? Well, here’s your chance to finally put them to good use as opposed to consigning them to land fill. From dirty plates and wet clothing to general waste and carrying firewood, plastic bags make exceptional re-cycled reciprocals no matter what your situation.

Woolly hat and socks

Even if it’s a boiling hot summer’s day and there’s not a cloud in the sky this doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience a lot hot summer’s night. We lose the majority of warmth from our head and feet so if you want to stay warm and avoid colds and other illnesses it’s wise to pack your thermal underwear because catching a chill at camp could prove disastrous.


Although not advisable to use near a tent, some kind of fire making equipment is essential for a quick and easy option if you’re not familiar with rubbing two sticks together. Of course, dampness will quickly put pay to standard matches so keeping your fire-making equipment in a plastic bag or specially marked tin box is the best idea for storage.


From digging out stubborn pegs and stones to creating a cess pit or hole for biodegradable waste, carrying a trowel in your backpack is a splendid idea and will often come in handy when you least expect it. Make sure that you’re buying a quality trowel as opposed to a cheaper, plastic option because you don’t want to start digging a water trench in the middle of the night only for your trowel to break within a couple of minutes.

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Ramblers Association: Is it all just walking?

With a name like the Ramblers Association, it is understandable that this charity has a fair amount of interest in walking. Their mission, quite simply, is to protect the outdoor spaces that appeal to walkers, and to make sure that people are able to experience the freedom and other benefits that come with being out and about on foot.

Walking, therefore, makes up a large part of what the charity does. Their website is a mine of useful information for those who enjoy getting out and about on foot, providing advice, suggested walking routes, details of walking events and festivals and much, much more.



While the main aim of the Ramblers Association is to promote the benefits of walking to the public, much of their work will also appeal to those who have a keen interest in protecting the environment. Part of the charity’s role includes protecting the environments in which people walk, and promoting their rights to enjoy the wide variety of open spaces that Britain has to offer. Work in these areas does not just include campaigning, but practical work too. A huge number of volunteers work with the charity to keep pathways across the UK clear and accessible, in addition to campaigning to protect walking routes that are at risk from commercial developments such as new housing projects, high speed railway lines, off road vehicles, fracking and more.


Another of the key charitable aims of the Ramblers Association is to educate the public in a variety of areas. These areas include promoting the health and social benefits of walking, as well as educating the public about the importance of preserving and conserving the areas of the UK that are popular amongst walkers. They also campaign for access rights – including a notable successful campaign in 2009 that gave members of the public the right to walk along the entire coast line of England, providing access to some of the country’s most beautiful and magical landscapes.

Walking Information

Experienced and novice walkers alike will find the advice guides produced by the charity to be useful. As well as advice on the health benefits and safety aspects of walking, you will find tips and reviews covering the best walking clothing, from waterproof trousers to Gore-Tex jackets and more. With advice on map reading and rights of way among other useful information, the Ramblers Association provides all that new and experienced walkers need to get going.


The Ramblers Association is a charity that is focused on walking, and this is, understandably, a key focus for the charity. However, there is plenty of opportunity for non-walkers to get involved – particularly those who have a keen interest in preserving our environment for generations to come. With a huge number of volunteer opportunities available and a number of regular, high profile campaigns each and every year, working with or supporting the Ramblers Association is a great way to get involved in championing a fantastic cause.

Arthur Long is an enviro mentalist. He loves the outdoors and blogs regularly on issues he feels strongly about.

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A Mini-Cruise Offers The Perfect Short Break

Mini-cruises are becoming an increasingly popular choice for those wanting a short escape away from it all – and it is not difficult to see why. Many modern holidaymakers and travel enthusiasts choose these versatile breaks which are available from many British ports to escape and get away from it all, for the new experiences which they offer – and very often the opportunity just to see what cruises are like.

Some of the first-time cruise-goers on board are often there to ‘dip a toe in the water’ and – if they like it – to consider the future possibility of booking a longer cruise itinerary for their main holiday.

Enjoy new experiences

A mini-cruise is ideal for exploring new coastal destinations, to see new islands or even visit a new city – and all without having to drive around or hire a car when you are there. Discover new places and enjoy new experiences in stop offs ranging from St Petersburg or various picturesque harbours on the Scandinavian seaboard, to Paris or Zeebrugge.

Culture, relaxation and entertainment

On board for your enjoyment during the sailing are restaurants, bars and entertainment – all without airport stress and taxi transfers. Relax in your cabin, wake up next morning and discover somewhere new – see the sights, soak up the culture, go shopping and have lunch or dinner in a romantic restaurant. So much is on offer – and you don’t have to organise it all yourself or cook! One of the leading operators offering an interesting selection of mini cruises from U.K. ports is Royal Caribbean Cruises, with their fleet of modern ships offering passengers safety and comfort.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship


If you are a first-time cruiser, why not take a look at an ‘ask the experts’ article – Sara Macefield (an award-winning cruise writer and travel journalist for more than twenty years) responds to a reader’s query asking about the best mini cruises.

If you would like to see reports and a mine of other generally useful information about experiences which holidaymakers have had on different cruise ships, one website which offers several reviews from cruises over recent years is Mini Cruise Reviews. This review site states its aim is to offer candid and plain-speaking reviews (based on opinion) of the vessels – along with the destination locations themselves.

One slightly tongue-in-cheek website which amongst other information offers its readers travel guides and states that it incorporates the knowledge of expert contributors and its owner Christine’s uncompromising style is ‘The Fabulous Times’. Also describing itself as a provider of a wealth of knowledge and “an indispensable resource for those who love to travel”, there is a recent article with a selection of five short cruises.

Enjoy your mini-cruise!



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